Have you ever wondered about EQ8 – the quilt design software from Electric Quilt? Here’s the best way to Learn All About EQ8 and a few other things, too!
Have you heard of Electric Quilt? If not, sit back ‘cuz you’re gonna love what I’m sharing!
Electric Quilt is a company that sells quilt design software and support materials. And, it’s not just for professionals. Anyone can use this software to design quilts and make them personal.
The quilt design software is called EQ8. I’ve been using it for many years in it’s various forms (EQ7 and earlier versions). It’s current software (EQ8) is an incredibly powerful tool that can add a whole new dimension to your quilting.
Below are all the details to help you decide if EQ8 is right for you.
EQ8 is a powerful software that allows you to create quilts, new blocks, and calculate fabric yardage and cutting instructions.
As with any software, there is a learning curve. But Electric Quilt is prepared for this. There are lessons on the blog, step-by-step books (more on this below), and YouTube videos that walk you through the process. If you are willing to to take the time to walk through the exercises, you’ll be able to learn this software quickly. Just like sewing or quilting, it’s not that difficult if you’re willing to practice a little.
I can’t say enough good things about Electric Quilt’s Customer Service. It is awesome. They will answer the phone or call you back. When I got a new laptop, they were so helpful with the software transfer process. And, they have a Chat system which I’ve used when I couldn’t figure something out and the answer was nowhere on the site.
You can install EQ8 on two computers! And, the software is available for Windows and Macs. As a Mac user, this is very impressive. Most sewing/quilting/machine embroidery software only works on Windows, but this software works well on both operating systems.
Here are a few things you can do in EQ8:
1. Design quilts in any size:
You can choose a layout from the library, or a pre-designed Quick Quilt project for instant inspiration. And designing a quilt from scratch is really not that difficult. It just takes a little bit of practice (more on this below!)
2. Draw blocks of all sizes and styles:
EQ8 can create any kind of block from scratch. You can even import a photo or sketch to trace.
The Block Library has over 6,700 pre-drawn block designs ready for you to use in your quilt designs. You can even edit them to add your own touch.
3. Scan and import fabric:
This is one of my favorite features! You can scan your fabric or take a picture of it, then import the image into EQ8. You can also add fabrics from the web! Download fabric images from a fabric website, then import into EQ8. Check the Electric Quilt website for instructions on how to download your favorite fabrics from individual manufacturers.
3. Calculate yardage:
No math involved! And, no more guessing and coming up short on fabric. Get accurate yardage estimates for your quilt, including borders! Using fat quarters? No problem! If you make changes to your quilt, your yardage automatically updates.
4. Print your blocks:
Another favorite feature! Print what you need to sew the blocks in your quilt. EQ8 uses the sizes you set for the blocks and adds the seam allowance. You can print templates, foundation patterns, rotary cutting charts, and pictures of your blocks and quilts.
EQ8 recognizes the need for simple lessons to walk beginner’s through the learning process. With that in mind they created a book called EQ8 Lessons for Beginners. This is the best way to learn the software from the start.
In the book you’ll get Step-by-Step Exercises for Learning EQ8 Software. Easy-to-follow lessons cover the basics and explain each of the three main worktables in EQ8. You will learn how to design quilts, draw blocks, import fabric scans, print patterns, and calculate yardage.
This 128-page fully illustrated color book has a convenient spiral binding that allows pages to rotate 360 degrees and lay flat.
Once you’re familiar with the EQ8 software, you may want to take it up a notch. Electric Quilt has just re-released the EQ8 Designing Quilts book. This book will teach you to design quilts with the most popular tools and features in the EQ8 software and features quilt-design secrets from EQ experts.
The book is broken down into individual lessons by an EQ8 expert. For instance, there’s a lesson on t-shirt quilt design and another on hexagon quilts. Just like the EQ8 Lessons for Beginners Book, this one will also walk you through each lesson step-by-step. and is perfect for EQ8 users at any learning stage – beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
This 136-page fully illustrated book has a convenient spiral binding that allows pages to rotate 360 degrees and lie flat.
Additional things you will want to consider…
Electric Quilt also has two other products that you will want to know about. I personally own each one and use them all the time.
This is the 3rd edition of The Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. It’s a book filled with details about various quilt blocks. The first and second editions had line drawings, hand-drawn by the author Barbara Brackman.
However, Electric Quilt has taken this amazing work and redrawn the blocks and added color. It is the best resource for identifying quilt blocks and getting inspiration for your quilts!
You’ll find line drawings and colored versions of 4,000+ blocks, plus their names and publishing information!
This is a stand-alone software with all of the details and information from Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns book. It does not require EQ8, however it integrates with the EQ8 software. That means if you find a couple of blocks you want to put together into a quilt, you can design them in the EQ8 software. Using BlockBase+ software inside of EQ8 allows you use any of the quilt designing features in EQ8 to create an amazing quilt.
BlockBase+ has over 4,000 searchable quilt blocks in the software and you can save your favorites. It’s great starting place for quilt design!
I hope this article has helped you have a better understanding of EQ8 and how you can use this invaluable tool to further your quilting journey.